Skip to content

Judge to rule whether Oscar Pistorius sent for mental observation

May 13, 2014, 8:17 AM EDT

Oscar Pistorius AP

The judge in Oscar Pistorius‘ murder trial will rule Wednesday if the runner will be placed under psychiatric evaluation, a decision that could delay the trial significantly.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel formally requested Pistorius be placed under mental observation Tuesday, one day after a forensic psychiatrist testified that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder that may have impacted his fatal shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.

If Judge Thokozile Masipa grants the request, the evaluation period could last 30 days, according to reports.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, said he thought an intruder was locked inside his bathroom when he shot four times through a locked door, hitting and killing Steenkamp inside.

He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. If not found guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius could be convicted of culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Merryll Vorster, continued to answer questions Tuesday. She said a person with Pistorius’ anxiety disorder probably shouldn’t own guns but may be more likely to purchase them for protection.

Nel made his request that Pistorius be placed under evaluation after Vorster’s testimony. He and lead defense attorney Barry Roux argued for more than an hour over the application. Roux said Pistorius should not be placed under mental observation and that he planned to call another witness to testify about Pistorius’ mental state.

Nel questioned the timing of Vorster being called, so late in the defense’s order of witnesses. He suggested she was called because Pistorius “was not the most impressive witness” when he testified in his own defense one month ago. Vorster said she visited Pistorius twice, both times earlier this month.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 3:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

Here’s NBC News’ full coverage of the trial.

Latest Posts
  1. Jordan Burroughs on Rio: ‘My chances of winning’ are better than in London

    Jul 3, 2015, 2:13 PM EDT

    US' Jordan Ernest Burroughs celebrates a US' Jordan Ernest Burroughs celebrates a

    In an interview before the July 4th stop of the Road to Rio tour before Philadelphia, the Olympic wrestler explained how his age has become an advantage.

  2. Rio 2016 Olympic torch unveiled

    Jul 3, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT

    Screen shot 2015-07-03 at 11.35.56 AM

    The torch will begin in the capital city of Brasilia, passing through a planned 500 cities before reaching Maracana Stadium in Rio for the Opening Ceremony.

  3. Allyson Felix considering 200-400m double at Worlds

    Jul 3, 2015, 11:11 AM EDT

    Allyson Felix Allyson Felix

    Won’t face Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who will forgo 200 meters to focus on 100.

  4. Japanese swim star Kosuke Hagino potentially out of World Championships

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:29 AM EDT

    Comments Off on Japanese swim star Kosuke Hagino potentially out of World Championships
    Japan's Kosuke Hagino competes in the me Japan's Kosuke Hagino competes in the me

    A suspected elbow fracture may force Hagino to pull out.

  5. Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross historically dominant at World Championships

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:07 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Walsh Jennings had never been part of such a rout with Misty May-Treanor.

  6. USOC eyes majority support for Boston 2024 ‘relatively soon’

    Jun 30, 2015, 7:33 PM EDT

    Boston 2024

    “We’re not discussing right now the possibility of not submitting a bid.”

  7. Usain Bolt pulls out of July track meets

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:37 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Bolt flew to Munich to treat an injury.

  8. Brazil’s president offers Barack Obama ‘standing invitation’ to Rio Olympics

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Obama has never attended an Olympics as president, and this is his last chance.

  9. Simon Shnapir retires from figure skating

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:08 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Shnapir won Olympic bronze in Sochi.

  10. Missy Franklin named top NCAA female athlete

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:37 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Franklin beat out another Rio 2016 Olympic hopeful for the honor.

  11. Cristiano Ronaldo ‘a possibility’ for Rio 2016 Olympics

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:19 AM EDT

    Cristiano Ronaldo Getty Images

    Ronaldo debuted at the Olympics two years before his first World Cup.

  12. Angela Ruggiero to become fourth women’s player in Hockey Hall of Fame

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

    AP AP

    The 2015 Hall of Fame class also includes four men’s Olympic medalists.

  13. Michael Phelps’ career in photos on his 30th birthday

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:10 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps

    Most decorated Olympian of all time turned 30 on Tuesday.

  14. Michael Phelps’ potential record chases at Rio Olympics

    Jun 30, 2015, 7:50 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps AP

    Phelps still trails a legendary gymnast, U.S. track and field champions and one of his 2004 Olympic swimming teammates.

  15. Five takeaways from U.S. Track and Field Championships

    Jun 29, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The U.S. appears headed for a historically strong World Championships medal haul.

  16. Boston 2024 releases Olympic bid version 2.0 (photos)

    Jun 29, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    Boston 2024 Olympic Stadium

    “The critical issue that everyone asks is, ‘Can we run a privately funded Games with a surplus?'”

  17. Yannick Agnel withdraws from World Swimming Championships

    Jun 29, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Agnel isn’t the only men’s swimming star who will be absent from Worlds.

  18. Justin Gatlin wins 200m at U.S. Championships in another personal best

    Jun 28, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The women’s 800m final was the craziest of the day.